Minnesota is rich in blogs, and alternative media such as The Uptake . Is another blog really needed? Good question! My main reason for setting it up is to have a place to archive and link to various emails and posts. Continue Reading →
First, thank to all who sent emails or made calls to Ramsey and Washington county commissioners about the garbage grinder purchase. As expected, the commissioners ignored public input and voted to go ahead with their incineration schemes. A lot more work will be needed to turn this situation around. More details shortly.
Should people be allowed to participate, to at least comment, at public meetings of public bodies?
One would think so, but this is often not the case in Minnesota, and somehow people have come to accept it, or at least gotten used to it.
The Legislative Energy Commission
One of the worst examples is the so-called Legislative Energy Commission (LEC), co-chaired by a Senator and a Representative,–at the moment these are Sen. John Marty and Rep. Pat Garofolo. The full membership is listed here.
According to the Legislature’s website “The commission also monitors the state’s progress in achieving goals to develop renewable sources of electric energy; evaluates progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; reviews and recommends proposed energy legislation and takes public testimony on energy issues.” [emphasis added.]
Upcoming meeting Sept, 24th
The LEC is meeting at 3:00 PM on September 24th (Room 10, State Office Building, St. Paul) Here is who gets to speak (full agenda here):
Rick Evans – Director of Regional Government Affairs, Xcel Energy
Eric Olsen – Vice President and General Counsel, Great River Energy
Julie Pierce – Director of Power Supply, Minnesota Power
Bill Black – Government Relations Director, Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association
Loren Laugtug – Legislative Affairs Manager, Otter Tail Power
J. Drake Hamilton – Science Policy Director, Fresh Energy
No public comment or testimony solicited or allowed! Why?
These, of course, are the same utilities working to block the expansion of solar and continue burning coal. They are causing Minnesota’s energy policy problems. “Fresh Energy” is likely the worst, most wrongheaded and overpaid self-serving energy-wonk organization I’ve ever encountered, with a history of promoting garbage incineration, transmission, and “biomass” pollution. See, for example, this upcoming disgusting event,” where the featured speakers represent the biggest air polluter in St. Paul, and a “biomass” lobby (mis)representing itself as “a trusted source of environmental information.”
So how did this public-excluding agenda come about? The Executive Director of the LEC, Annie Levenson-Falk (her previous employer was the “Citizens League”) said in an email: “the speakers and the agenda were set by the co-chairs and myself.” We had no luck getting in touch with these co-chairs. This attitude of gagging the public and rolling out the red carpet for fat-cat interests didn’t originate with Marty, Garofolo, and Levenson-Falk. A previous LEC co-chair, Rep. Melissa Hortman, told us “we don’t have time for open mike.” Levenson-Falk, in an email, said “The LEC doesn’t typically have a public comment period in its meetings.”
So, lower-income ratepayers, environmental justice communities, people concerned about the need for and siting of energy facilities, people truly concerned about climate change, people concerned about the connection between waste management and energy issues, can just be quiet, and listen to bullshit from utility lobbyists. Or better yet, not show up at all.
With these values and attitudes, is it any wonder that in the last legislative session Marty and Garofolo both rolled out what we called “mega-horrible utility deregulation bills.” In spite of the strong opposition of the Attorney General, Xcel and Minnesota Power and the other utilities got most of what they wanted. Xcel’s been boasting about this ever since. See this investor presentation, for example.
So, doubtless the utilities will be coming back to the Legislature for another bite out of the apple, another reach into ratepayers pockets, more stalling on solar and efficiency, all using the “Clean Power Plan” as an excuse. Marty, Garofolo, and the other LEC members need to be properly programmed and given legislation to carry. So, we get meetings that are an orchestrated farce.
What you can do:
Energy policy issues can be complex and confusing. But letting the public have a voice is simple and obvious. Please contact call and email Marty and Garofolo, and the other members, and ask them to allow public testimony, not just pre-selected special interest testimony, at all LEC meetings:
Calls are often more effective than emails.
Sen John Marty: (651) 296-5645, email@example.com
Rep. Pat Garofolo: 651-296-1069, firstname.lastname@example.org
All emails in one bunch:
email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com
The senators below have withheld their emails, but there is a–less convenient–email contact form for each of them:
The Volksvagen emission cheating scandal is broader than VW and has major health and environmental implications:
For some reason the links to the Eureka Recycling videos did not work on the email. But they work fine from the web post, so go there to see them.
The two county board meetings are at 9:00 am Tuesday morning the 22nd.
“The public is invited to attend and participate in Washington County Board Meetings, which are most Tuesdays at 9 a.m. in the Board Room at the Washington County Government Center, 14949 62nd St. N., Stillwater.” and “South Washington County Telecommunications Commission web streams all Board meetings to view online.” Map of location. I could not find a detailed agenda.
Room 22o, Courthouse, 15 West Kellog Blvd, St Paul
The agenda has seven items related to the incinerator scheme. There is no indication that public comment will be allowed. I suspect it will not.
Incinerator emissions and pretty pictures
Take a look at the pic below. This is how the commissioners of Ramsey and Washington counties burn their garbage in Red Wing and (Mankato). Whatever happens tomorrow, this fight is far from over…..
Some emissions numbers from the MPCA for the Red Wing burners:
Carbon monoxide 121,399 pounds
Lead 69 pounds
NOx 1,212,168 pounds
PM10 21,046 pounds
Sulfur dioxide 101,949 pounds
Ammonia 149 pounds
acid 16,040 pounds
Chromium 18.11 pounds
Manganese 20.22 pounds
Red Wing Total 1,472,958 pounds
Rough total Mankato 1,791,161 pounds
Combined total: 3,264,119 Well over three million pounds of health damaging air pollutants.
Arrogance at work: Ramsey and Washington county boards, and mainstream media, deny public a voice on garbage burning
For a lighter approach to this see these two very nice, brief, videos from Eureka Recycling:
Then, please take action by contacting county commissioners (info below) and attending a board meeting on Tuesday morning.
This story ran in the Pioneer Press on May 12th. The reporter at least talked to us.
Ramsey, Washington counties eye Newport garbage-processing plant
This article appeared in the Strib. No mention of community/environmental concerns.
Trash costs drive Ramsey, Washington counties to consider Newport plant buyout
September 15, 2015
The Honorable Governor Mark Dayton
116 Veterans Service Building
20 W 12th Street
St. Paul, MN 55155
Dear Governor Dayton:
We, the undersigned elected officials, formally submit this letter to express our support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) first-ever limits on dangerous carbon pollution from existing power plants using authority granted under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. Moreover, we submit this letter to encourage you to continue our state’s leadership on environmental and energy policy by developing a strong and just compliance plan for Minnesota’s implementation of the Clean Power Plan with a strong emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Continue Reading →
“Zero Waste” or more polluting, carbon-belching incineration??
Decisions have consequences. Minneapolis people in the 1980s put up a strong fight against building the HERC garbage burner in Minneapolis. They lost, and got decades of polluted air, inflated bills, and a recycling rate of 17 percent. It was an expensive loss. This is finally turning around, we think, but only because over the last few years people put up a strong fight against expanded burning at the HERC. Continue Reading →
H.R. 1734 and Senate companion bill S. 1803 are intended to prevent EPA’s (weak) coal ash regulation rule from going into effect. 165 Democrats voted against 1734 and only 19 voted for it. 239 Republicans vote for it and only ONE against. Stats here. Continue Reading →
By Alan Muller from Red Wing at 11:00 a.m.
By Alan Muller
- Reminder: TODAY – Greenhouse gas hearing Thursday, August 30th, 2:00, at the MPCA August 30, 2012
- Garbage prospers in the Minnesota Legislature March 12, 2015
- RED ALERT: oppose mega-horrible utility deregulation bills March 18, 2015
- [Wash Post] “Utilities wage campaign against rooftop solar” March 9, 2015
- Action Alert: Ask for public comment extension on Minnesota air monitoring plan July 1, 2014
- Marty, Garofolo gag public at “Legislative Energy Commission” September 24, 2015
- Car manufacturers cheat ….. September 24, 2015
- Update on Washington/Ramsey county garbage grinder/incineration scam September 21, 2015
- Arrogance at work: Ramsey and Washington county boards, and mainstream media, deny public a voice on garbage burning September 21, 2015
- Almost blacked out in the Pioneer Press …. September 21, 2015
- Alan Muller: Thanks, Sheldon. I do not have a good sense of Ma...
- SHELDON GITIS: YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN THIS EVENT. http://www...
- Marty, Garofolo gag public at “Legislative Energy Commission” | alanmuller.com: […] that in the last legislative session Mar...
- Update on Washington/Ramsey county garbage grinder/incineration scam | alanmuller.com: […] For some reason the links to the Eureka ...
- Arrogance at work: Ramsey and Washington county boards, and mainstream media, deny public a voice | alanmuller.com: […] The link to a previous Alert is here: ...
- Marty, Garofolo gag public at “Legislative Energy Commission”
- Car manufacturers cheat …..
- Update on Washington/Ramsey county garbage grinder/incineration scam
- Arrogance at work: Ramsey and Washington county boards, and mainstream media, deny public a voice on garbage burning
- Almost blacked out in the Pioneer Press ….
- "Environmental Legacy"
- "Streamlining" and "Improvement"
- air pollution
- air pollution alert
- Childrens' Health
- City of Red Wing
- City of Red Wing (Minnesota)
- climate change
- coal ash
- Community Solar Gardens
- Covanta/Hennepin County "Environmental Services"
- Environmental Justice
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Environmental Quality Board
- Environmental Regulation–Protecting Minnesota
- Frac sand mining
- Garbage Incineration
- General Mills
- Goodhue County
- Gov. Dayton's Executive Orders
- Liquified Natural Gas
- Metallic Mining
- Minnesota energy policy
- Minnesota Legislature
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- Minnesota Power
- MPCA Citizens' Board
- Nuclear Power
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- plants and animals
- St. Paul
- Union Pacific
- water pollution
- Xcel Energy